Texas Fishing Forum

The secret to catching big catfish revealed.

Posted By: Fishin' Nut

The secret to catching big catfish revealed. - 08/02/21 06:44 PM

When I fish, I target the 30lbs or better. But last Saturday my boat partner and I decided to try and catch a mess of 3 - 5 lb catfish to take home. So we swap out the size 10 for size 4 hooks and downsize from a piece of skipjack the size of your fist to something about the size of a half dollar. Not a single dink was caught. What we did catch was a 12, 19, and 36 and without moving from our original spot. So if you want to catch some big cats right now, don't ignore the fact you can downsize and still have an excellent chance of scoring. The blues are post spawn and angry. The 36 tore up my Abu Garcia Catfish reel. Hopefully I can get it fixed before Saturday. It is my favorite reel. We only fished for 3 hours. The heat and humidity sent us packing pretty early. The 12 and 36 was our first post spawn double.

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Posted By: 🍀El Gato Azul🍀

Re: The secret to catching big catfish revealed. - 08/02/21 08:19 PM

I wish that secret worked on Lewisville Carey!! Nice work man! Your really getting that River figured out!!!
Posted By: KEGracing

Re: The secret to catching big catfish revealed. - 08/02/21 08:33 PM

Very nice!

Ken
Posted By: Catfish Tim

Re: The secret to catching big catfish revealed. - 08/03/21 12:19 PM

Great job. I see some guys mixing up the bait size to find out what the fish are hungry for and then switching out to that. Whether it's fillets, chunks or heads, big small or somewhere in the middle. I do think right now they are comin off the nest and they will eat about anything. Well done Carey, can't wait to get on 'em on Guntersville this weekend!
Posted By: Ed-n-eddy

Re: The secret to catching big catfish revealed. - 08/03/21 05:30 PM

thumb
Posted By: banker-always fishing

Re: The secret to catching big catfish revealed. - 08/04/21 02:44 AM

Nice post and fish. Good job. thumb
Posted By: cvitale

Re: The secret to catching big catfish revealed. - 08/04/21 04:45 AM

I find this to be an interesting topic. I'm curious to know if the TFF could only pick one thing that they think makes them successful or couldn't live without, what would it be? Is it your hook type and size like Fishin' Nut, time on the water, bait, electronics, etc. I find it fascinating that there are so many successful fisherman using completely different tactics. What's important to one person may be useless to another. So, whatcha got?

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Posted By: 🍀El Gato Azul🍀

Re: The secret to catching big catfish revealed. - 08/04/21 06:00 AM

Time on water 1000%
Anyone can get lucky from time to time but it takes a mountain of knowledge to be consistently successful week in and week out, month after month, year after year. Bluecatn is learned in layers and there is no shortcut to the heart of it. You gotta be on the water doing it to learn it all. There is lots of floating around like an idiot for years and years and second guessing every move until one day the lightbulb turns on snd it suddenly all starts to make sense. There are many different styles snd techniques and one works better on any given day. Learning all the different techniques snd layers takes many many years.

You gotta pattern and get the right bait bait 100% of the time, big bait, small bait, what cut snd what type ? learning electronics, learning to control drift, boat control , anchor setting, high wind, no wind, north wind, south wind, west wind, east wind. Understanding seasonal migration, reading structure, and knowing where fish are going to be and where they are going. Is the lake rising or falling, Is it a shallow bite , mid depth, or deep. Full moon bite snd no moon bite. High barometric pressure or low. Falling pressure or rising pressure. There are a million excused catfish anglers use as to why they didn’t perform well. Some days it’s the Mother Nature, some days it your equipment, and some days it’s you.

I used to use all the excuses in the book as to why I didn’t catch fish and then I would see other anglers smashed em on the same day. I quit making excuses and studied and fished with top anglers for years to fill my holes and eventually after many years I ironed out most of the problems I was having. The longer you fish and the harder you fish, the better you get at overcoming all the different downfalls. Everybody takes a skunk from time to time but some guys have just learned to overcome most of the things that cause them due to their experience and time on the water. Occasionally a weather system will shut em down but most of the time there is a way to overcome most things.

You can fish for Blue catfish your whole life and still be learning till the very end. I used to take plenty of skunks but as I’ve gained experience I average 1 per year and we fish every week. Time on the water is the absolute most important thing in Bluecatn especially trophy Bluecatn. Sorry for the long winded answer but Bluecatn ain’t easy!!! Some guys just make it look that way!

Posted By: Catfish Tim

Re: The secret to catching big catfish revealed. - 08/04/21 11:01 AM

Everything Chris said is true. I think the one most important thing to me is fresh shad. You can do everything else right but if you don't offer them what they want to eat, they aren't gonna care. I consider myself to be a pretty successful blue cater but I still have a lot of holes on the list Chris put up. Control drifting, electronics, and patterning are three weaknesses that I want to work on this year. I want to upgrade to an HDS 12 and network my trolling motor so I can control drift. I think that is going to make a huge impact on my success rate. I still blame the weather, too much wind, not enough wind, full moon, flooded conditions, blah, blah, blah...

If you put in the time, you will be there when it all comes together and the big fish are practically jumping in your boat. Those days make all the work and sweat and freezing cold worth while...

Sorry, I'm not very good at short answers either. de
Posted By: 🍀El Gato Azul🍀

Re: The secret to catching big catfish revealed. - 08/04/21 03:55 PM

Shad isn’t as important to me Tim especially when planer boarding as I often do better on other baits. When I anchor i use Shad 95% of the time though. I always have Gizzard Shad to give em and that is a big fish’s primary food no doubt but sometimes they just prefer something else if it is presented to them especially Toads. Some days you gotta fish with whatever you can catch in the net ya know and that’s how I stumbled onto it!! This seems to be particularly the case when pulling whole baits or giant filets with the planer boards in the fall and winter. I believe some Toads just key in on a fish of a certain size and those fish are often alive. Yes they will eat chunks if various sizes fir sure. I seldom use live bait due to the increased chance of a fouled hooks but I do try to present the whole bait or big filet I use as a live or injured fish that is slowly swimming by. If I filet a big bait like a Carp or Buffalo I try snd cut it so that it looks like a fish. You can catch fish on any size bait really but I alway put my biggest whole baits on my outside planer boards and most guys can’t believe the size baits I run but it works fir me.. I use the smaller chunks on my inside rods and they catch fish too. I generally switch all my baits to what the fish are biting the most on after they tell me what they want. I still get out fished by my buddy floating next to me using chunks but not very often. I’m not saying my way is the best way by any means, it’s just what works fir me. Every lake is a little different too…
Posted By: TRH (formerly xpress00)

Re: The secret to catching big catfish revealed. - 08/04/21 04:11 PM

TIME ON THE WATER. As others have already stated, you have to be on the water fishing and learning what is going on that given moment, under those specific conditions, and then be able to retain the information to understand what was happening and why. AND.. it's not just the learning on the successful days, but more so the unsuccessful days. That's where a person's light can shine.

How do YOU react to an unsuccessful day. I'm not looking for your answers, but you should be asking yourself that question and and see how you answer it for yourself.
Posted By: cvitale

Re: The secret to catching big catfish revealed. - 08/04/21 04:53 PM

I totally agree with both of you guys, but if I could only choose one thing I would agree that time on the water is key. There is no doubt that good fresh bait is important, but on those days where I’ve struggled finding bait (not always easy in the canoe) I’ve had success using chicken. My biggest blue caught was on a piece of raw chicken - 46lbs (I will put the video below). If your not in a good location that has a strong bait source you're going to struggle finding good quality fish.... and you're not going to know that without spending time on the water. A buddy of mine swears by his electronics, but fishing out of a small boat in relatively shallow water my electronics are not always as important to me. Time on the water and location has been the key to my success!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2WmvY0Zo12I
Posted By: 🍀El Gato Azul🍀

Re: The secret to catching big catfish revealed. - 08/04/21 05:07 PM

Chicken is a great bait especially for the area you are fishing Chris. Big blues love Baby Ducks and I believe that is why chicken works for Blues. I’ve seen baby ducks get hammered in the shallow by monster cats on multiple occasions over the years. I even had a toad blue spit up a small Cormorant on my deck 10 or 12 yrs back snd that blew my mind. I’ve seen big blues beach themselves trying to eat a small bird at waters edge. You really see some cool stuff from time to time when your fishing shallow. Its like National Geographic sometimes!
Posted By: Fishin' Nut

Re: The secret to catching big catfish revealed. - 08/04/21 08:13 PM

For me, it's current and structure. That sunken tree I've waypointed this spring probably won't be there in a year. Certain areas on the Tennessee River always hold some fish. Below G dam, the mouth of the Paint Rock and Flint Rivers, deep (70' deep) holes, etc. But big fish are like big bucks, they both move around. Right now, they prefer cut or live bluegill over skipjack and the bait suspended just off the bottom and not on the bottom. My main problem right now are the gar finding the bait before the catfish do and the eel grass. Them 5 footers are causing me to lose a lot of gear. But they do put up a good fight. The eel grass floats in the current and after 10 or 15 minutes, you may have a couple of pounds of it wrapped around your line.

I can't wait on Catfish Tim's report on fishing Lake Guntersville this weekend. High's in the low 90's and light winds are in the forecast. His guide is one of the best for putting monster fish in the boat.

Tim, just to whet your appetite, here is JR Hall from last night. Another guide for Backwoods Catfishing. I think this was one was caught on Lake Guntersville.

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Posted By: Fishin' Nut

Re: The secret to catching big catfish revealed. - 08/04/21 08:22 PM

One more thing you Texas boys don't have to worry about. Barge traffic. Get anchored upstream on a nice hole and get the planer boards put out. Settle in and five minutes later a barge comes around the corner forcing you to pick up and move aside.
Posted By: 🍀El Gato Azul🍀

Re: The secret to catching big catfish revealed. - 08/04/21 08:46 PM

I forgot one of the biggest things guys, The Fishery!!! You can fish your whole life and not run into a 50 pounder in a lot of these fisheries. On Lewisville we catch about one a year if we are lucky. When we go to Twok I almost expect to catch a 50 pounder when conditions are right and on a really good day we’re catching several 50s along with 10 fish over 25 pounds and maybe even a 60+. The fishery plays a huge roll. You guys that are lucky enough to fish Twok, Lavon, and in Nuts case the Tennessee River, are super blessed to call them your home waters. Those are some world class fisheries no doubt. I’m jealous of y’all for sure!
Posted By: Catfish Tim

Re: The secret to catching big catfish revealed. - 08/05/21 12:21 PM

Originally Posted by Fishin' Nut
For me, it's current and structure. That sunken tree I've waypointed this spring probably won't be there in a year. Certain areas on the Tennessee River always hold some fish. Below G dam, the mouth of the Paint Rock and Flint Rivers, deep (70' deep) holes, etc. But big fish are like big bucks, they both move around. Right now, they prefer cut or live bluegill over skipjack and the bait suspended just off the bottom and not on the bottom. My main problem right now are the gar finding the bait before the catfish do and the eel grass. Them 5 footers are causing me to lose a lot of gear. But they do put up a good fight. The eel grass floats in the current and after 10 or 15 minutes, you may have a couple of pounds of it wrapped around your line.

I can't wait on Catfish Tim's report on fishing Lake Guntersville this weekend. High's in the low 90's and light winds are in the forecast. His guide is one of the best for putting monster fish in the boat.

Tim, just to whet your appetite, here is JR Hall from last night. Another guide for Backwoods Catfishing. I think this was one was caught on Lake Guntersville.

[Linked Image]





It was! I talked to Josh yesterday and he said JR has the night time pattern figured out. That was a 75! I am stoked!
Posted By: 🍀El Gato Azul🍀

Re: The secret to catching big catfish revealed. - 08/05/21 02:51 PM

Hope y’all have a trip of a lifetime Tim! Y’all are headed to 100 lbr territory! I will be pullin for y’all amigo! Can’t wait to see the video!! popcorn
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